Kyion Flanders always tries his best to be a leader on the basketball court and will strive to continue that at the collegiate level.
The Wildwood High School star committed Tuesday to continue his athletic and academic career at NCAA Division III Stockton University. Flanders received a partial academic scholarship from the university.
The 18-year-old guard from Wildwood will be living on the Galloway campus.
“I believe Stockton was a great fit for me,” Flanders said. “It is a really good campus and a really good school. ... And it is not too far from home, so I can visit on holidays and breaks.”
The Ospreys finished 15-10 overall (9-9 New Jersey Athletic Conference) this season. Stockton did not qualify for the NJAC tournament.
Flanders scored his 2,000th career point on Feb. 10 in a victory over Lower Cape May Regional. He finished his career as the all-time leading scorer in Wildwood program history with 2,131 points.
Flanders will major in business at Stockton. His first choice was sports management, but the university did not offer that major.
“I want to make sure I get the right education and enjoy my four years of college,” Flanders said. “I want to better myself, so when I get out of college, I will be on the right track in life.”
Stockton coach Scott Bittner said Flanders reminds him of Josh Blamon, a 2015 Stockton graduate who played this past season with the Wisconsin Herd in the NBA G-League.
“Not everyday can you find an extremely high-character kid that scored more than 2,100 points,” Bittner said. “His intangibles seem to match his talent, which gives him a chance to have a special career.”
Flanders averaged 20.6 points, 4.3 assists and 5.6 rebounds this winter.
Wildwood’s assistant coach and former Stockton player Jon Greene contacted Bittner more than two years ago about Flanders, and the program scouts have been watching him closely since. Greene was an All-American during his time at Stockton.
“If (Flanders) is willing to work as hard as Josh did on his body and his skills,” Bittner said, “then he could be the next great Stockton player.”
Flanders, a first-team Press All-Star selection as a junior and senior, led the Warriors to a 17-10 record and shared the Tri-County Classic Division title with Penns Grove.
Wildwood fell to Paulsboro in the South Jersey Group I quarterfinals Feb. 28.
Flanders said Bittner informed him there is a chance he will get playing time as a freshman, but the 6-foot-1 guard has to first earn the opportunity.
“I think I will do pretty well,” Flanders said. “To hear that from a good coach like Bittner, it is motivation in the offseason.”
Flanders averaged 28.9 points, 4.2 rebounds, four assists and three steals as a junior, leading the the Warriors to a 22-7 record and a trip to the the SJ Group I seminfinals. He made 86 3-pointers as a junior.
“I think he can be special,” Bittner said. “If he comes in a works his tail off, the sky is the limit for him.”